In northeastern Spain, the Costa Brava offers stunning beaches, picturesque landscapes, and a rich cultural heritage. How you plan your trip can make a significant difference in the quality of your vacation. From the medieval charm of Begur and other towns to the bustling city of Girona and the tranquil fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell, there are several options to consider when planning a Costa Brava excursion.

Nestled in the northeastern corner of Spain, the Costa Brava is a ruggedly beautiful coastline characterized by rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, and idyllic coves. The name Costa Brava means "wild" or "rugged coast," a fitting description of this region's natural beauty. While the area has grown in popularity with visitors over the years, it remains a quintessentially Spanish destination, infused with traditions, customs, and rich culture.

You can trace the region's history to ancient times, with settlements dating to the pre-Roman era. Over the centuries, many influences have shaped the Costa Brava, from the Greeks and Romans to the Moors and Christians. Today, this region's blend of cultures is evident in its architecture, art, and cuisine. It's no surprise you're considering a Costa Brava trip!

Determining Your Base in the Costa Brava

Sunset over Begur with views to Illes Medes

There are many reasons why someone would want to travel to the Costa Brava, but the question is, where should you make your base? Kimkim recommends choosing Begur, a medieval hilltop village with quick access to the beach. It delivers all the appeals of the Costa Brava, and the hotels in Begur are some of the region's best.

Several reasons make Begur such a great choice. For one, it's home to some of the Costa Brava's best beaches, with crystal-clear waters and secluded coves. You can laze at the beach, hike along the coast, or try water sports, all in the same small area. Beyond its natural beauty, Begur also feels like a vibrant city and charming village in one, offering distinct flavor and character. You can explore medieval streets, buzzy plazas, and historic ruins, then end your days at delicious eateries.

Of course, you can choose another base in the Costa Brava, and other ideas include Girona as another city or coastal hubs like Cadaqués or Tossa de Mar. It all depends on what kind of trip you hope to enjoy. Since kimkim recommends Begur, below is more information about the historic village. Then keep reading for other towns and cities to visit depending on your desired theme, such as places for a family vacation, ideal locations for couples, or the perfect spot for an active trip. 


Begur is a picturesque town surrounded by beautiful hiking trails and offers several outdoor activities, such as kayaking, snorkeling, and windsurfing. You'll find this medieval village in the Baix Empordà region, rich in wine and agriculture. The village itself is known for well-preserved stone buildings, narrow streets, and views of the surrounding countryside and coastline. Pair your time strolling through the village and admiring the Gothic architecture, including the castle and the Church of Santa Maria, with the area's beaches.

History & Culture

Begur was founded during the Middle Ages, and the town's medieval charm is preserved through its cobblestone streets and ancient stone walls. The 11th-century Begur Castle, a strategic fortress, is a testament to the town's storied past. Begur's culture reflects the influences of various Mediterranean civilizations, including the Iberians, Romans, and Moors, all interwoven with the legacy of the Indianos—Begur natives who migrated to the Americas, particularly Cuba, in the 19th century. These emigrants returned with new architectural styles, customs, and culinary influences that shaped the town's unique identity.

Today, Begur continues to celebrate its diverse heritage through a lively calendar of cultural events and festivals that honor its rich past and vibrant present. Some of the most popular events are the Fira d'Indians and the International Music Festival, which showcase Begur's vibrant heritage and welcoming spirit.

What to See & Do

Begur offers the perfect mix of historic village vibes and beautiful beaches. The town's medieval core is ideal for leisurely strolls and exploring local shops, galleries, and restaurants. The Begur Castle ruins provide a glimpse into the town's history and panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Empordà region. For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Esclanya Castle, an impressive 14th-century fortress, is a must.

After exploring the town, spend time on the coastline surrounding Begur. You'll find picturesque coves and beaches, such as Aiguablava, Sa Tuna, and Sa Riera, providing swimming, sunbathing, and water sports opportunities. If you'd like to try snorkeling and scuba diving, you can do so in the Ses Negres Marine Reserve waters, and nature lovers can enjoy the surrounding hills and forests with scenic hiking and biking trails. 

Beaches to Visit

Though Begur is technically inland, it still has several beaches, all tucked away in small coves, providing a serene and peaceful atmosphere. Some popular beaches include Sa Tuna, Aiguafreda, and Platja Fonda. These beaches offer sun loungers, umbrella rentals, and restaurants and cafés serving fresh, local cuisine.

Choose Sa Tuna or Sa Riera for a small, secluded cove with calm waters. It's perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Aiguablava is a bit bigger, a wide, sandy beach with a hip vibe. It's great for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports, and as the day goes on, a younger crowd emerges, and you can sip drinks and eat snacks right on the sand. Aiguafreda requires a hike down to the sand, and Fonda is another good choice if you'd like more privacy and seclusion—it's also an excellent spot for snorkeling. 

How to Get There

Reaching Begur from Barcelona or Girona is relatively easy by car, public transportation, or a combination. The drive from Barcelona to Begur is about 1.5 hours. You could easily make a few cultural stops in Girona or Costa Brava villages, like Tossa de Mar and/or Calella de Palafrugell. From Girona, the drive is a little shorter, taking just under an hour. 

Public transportation options include buses and trains, although there's no direct train to Begur. From Barcelona, take a 1.5-hour train to Girona or Flaçà and switch to a bus. The bus takes one hour from Girona, then from Flaçà it takes around 30 minutes. Keep in mind that public transport schedules may vary, and train tickets tend to sell out, so it's best to plan your journey in advance.

Best Places to Visit for a Family Trip

Kids playing on Tossa de Mar

The Costa Brava is an ideal destination for families, with its beaches, medieval towns, and range of activities. Kids love spending time on the beach, hiking along the coast, and trying different water sports. Though Begur is also great for families, two other options are Lloret de Mar, with its long stretches of golden sand, and Tossa de Mar, with rocky coves and crystal-clear waters, plus a castle and Old Town encircled by Roman-era walls.

Lloret de Mar

Lloret de Mar is on the Mediterranean coast, so it's a popular destination for families seeking a fun and memorable vacation. The beaches in Lloret de Mar are a bit more shallow and wider, providing plenty of facilities, like bathrooms, restaurants, and sun lounger rentals—which can make all the difference when traveling with kids. As for the town, you'll find many family-friendly restaurants and nearby water parks, amusement parks, nature reserves, and cultural experiences.

History & Culture

Lloret de Mar was initially a small fishing village, though its strategic seaside location along Mediterranean trade routes helped it develop and flourish over the centuries. The town's historical landmarks, such as the 11th-century Sant Joan Castle and the medieval Church of Sant Romà, provide glimpses into its past, while the Maritime Museum offers insights into the region's seafaring traditions. Kids tend to love all of these landmarks, particularly the castle and learning about pirates in the museum. 

What to See & Do

The beaches, cultural attractions, and delicious eateries draw visitors to Lloret de Mar. Swim and build sand castles on the sandy beaches of Fenals or Playa de Lloret, take your family on a boat trip along the coast, or explore the stunning gardens of Santa Clotilde. The medieval castle is a must for history buffs, but it also provides some truly incredible views, as it is set atop a hill overlooking the town. In the evenings, the town comes alive, providing your family with plenty of eateries near the seaside.

Beaches to Visit

One of the most famous beaches in Lloret de Mar is the Playa de Lloret, which offers a shallow entry, transparent water, and soft sand, all perfect for kids. And if you'd like to experience something more adventurous with your family, you'll find plenty of water activities, including parasailing, kayaking, and jet skiing. Another option is Santa Cristina Beach, known for its picturesque cove and natural surroundings. For a quieter and more secluded spot, Cala Boadella Beach, situated just a few minutes from the town center, offers a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere, surrounded by greenery and rocky cliffs. 

How to Get There

Most likely, you'll be coming from Begur or Girona. Having a car or hiring a private transfer is best, as you won't find any direct public transportation options, and those that require a change take too long. From Begur, you'll drive down the coast for a little over 45 minutes. Girona is a slightly shorter journey at about 35 minutes. Once in Lloret de Mar, you can park in one of the many lots in the town center, with the beach just about a five-minute walk away.

Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar is another great option for families, but it's also a coastal village that anyone can enjoy. Kids tend to love the town's historic castle, sheltered beaches, family-friendly restaurants, and unique shops. Though there's so much to explore in the area, you really could spend your entire time here and not get bored!

History & Culture

Once a thriving settlement for the Iberians, Romans, and Visigoths, Tossa de Mar's most iconic historical feature is the Vila Vella, a 12th-century walled fortress that stands guard over the town and its picturesque bay. The fortress, with its well-preserved towers and walls, is a testament to the region's medieval past and offers spectacular views of the surrounding Mediterranean coastline.

The cultural heritage of Tossa de Mar is a blend of various influences from its history, with Roman ruins, such as the Villa Romana dels Ametllers, and medieval structures coexisting with modern art and architectural styles. The town has also been a long-standing haven for artists and intellectuals, including the likes of Marc Chagall, who dubbed it the "Blue Paradise" and drew inspiration from its stunning landscapes. Today, Tossa de Mar's art scene remains vibrant, with numerous galleries, exhibitions, festivals, live music, and local customs.

What to See & Do

One of the main attractions in Tossa de Mar is the Vila Vella, its walled medieval old town with narrow cobbled streets and ancient architecture. Walk up to the castle towers and the Cap de Tossa Lighthouse for exceptional views. The town's main beach, Platja Gran, stretches nearly 1,320 feet (400 m) long and provides ample space for families to spread out and enjoy the sun and sand without worrying too much about crowds. And because it's in a large cove, the water tends to be calm and clear—perfect for safe swimming with young children.

After spending time in the Old Town and on the beach, learn more about Tossa de Mar's history and art at the Municipal Museum, which showcases a collection of Roman artifacts and contemporary art.

Beaches to Visit

You don't need to leave Tossa de Mar to enjoy the beach. Its main beach, Platja Gran, is a wide, crescent-shaped stretch perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Another popular option is Platja d'es Codolar, on the other side of the castle, which is quieter and less crowded, with calm waters ideal for snorkeling and paddleboarding. For those who love nature, Cala Pola is surrounded by cliffs and pine forests and accessible only by foot or boat.

How to Get There

Tossa de Mar is less than one hour from Begur and Girona by car, and you'll find several large parking lots throughout the town, both above and below ground. You can also park on the street and pay per minute with an app or at the meters. Though having a car or hiring a private transfer is best, if coming from Girona, the bus is fairly convenient, taking 1.5 hours. Just know you'll need to switch buses in Lloret

Best Places to Visit for a Romantic Vacation

A couple watching the sunset in Cadaqués

The Costa Brava is also an excellent destination for a romantic trip or a vacation for couples. You can spend your days hiking along the rugged coastline, exploring picturesque villages, and relaxing on the coast. You can do all this in Begur, too, but the charming town of Cadaqués is a popular choice for couples, with its narrow streets, white-washed buildings, and views over the Mediterranean Sea. Otherwise, the medieval town of Pals offers a more historical and cultural experience, with its winding streets and well-preserved buildings.


Cadaqués is a romantic destination with tranquil coves, hidden beaches, and incredible sunsets. Couples can take a stroll along the beachfront promenade, relax on the sand with a good book, or explore the town center with its boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. For a romantic meal, head to one of the town's seafood restaurants to sample fresh fish and seafood while enjoying the sea views.

History & Culture

Cadaqués is steeped in history and renowned for its artistic heritage. Nestled in the Cap de Creus peninsula, the town's history dates back to the ancient Iberian civilization, with Greek and Roman influences. Its strategic location and natural harbor significantly influenced maritime trade during the Middle Ages. Today, Cadaqués' historic center is perfect for walking down narrow, winding streets with white-washed houses and the beautiful 16th-century Church of Santa Maria, reflecting its rich architectural legacy.

If you're interested in art, you might enjoy the fact that Salvador Dalí spent much of his childhood and later life in Cadaqués. The town's artistic atmosphere fostered a thriving community of painters, writers, and musicians throughout the 20th century, including Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and Joan Miró. The Salvador Dalí House-Museum in Port Lligat, a short distance from the town center, showcases the surrealist artist's life and work.

What to See & Do

The Salvador Dalí House-Museum, where the famous surrealist artist lived and worked for many years, is one of the most popular attractions in Cadaqués. You can explore the quirky interior of the house and admire some of Dalí's original artworks. Other popular activities in Cadaqués include strolling along the scenic waterfront, swimming at the nearby beaches of Playa Es Poal and Cala Nans, and hiking in the surrounding Cap de Creus Natural Park. The town also offers many dining options, from traditional seafood restaurants to trendy tapas bars, making it the perfect destination for foodies, too.

Beaches to Visit

One of the top beaches to visit is Plage de Portlligat, a secluded cove with clear waters surrounded by rocky cliffs. Another must-visit beach is Plage de Salvador Dalí, named after the famous artist. This beach has a wide stretch of sand and offers stunning views of the town and the mountains. For a bit of adventure, check out the nearby Cala Jugadora, a hidden cove that can only be reached on foot.

How to Get There

Getting to Cadaqués can be challenging, as the town is at the end of a winding road that isn't the easiest to navigate. Having a rental car or hiring a private transfer is best, though a fun alternative is getting to Cadaqués by boat. The drive takes about one hour and 15 minutes from either Girona or Begur. If coming from Barcelona, plan for over two hours of driving. 


Pals is a medieval town with a historic center that's perfect for strolling hand-in-hand with your significant other. The town also has several restaurants and cafés that are perfect for a romantic meal or drink. Though Pals doesn't make for a good base, it's one of the best medieval villages in the Costa Brava and perfect for a day trip. 

History & Culture

Pals attracts visitors for its well-preserved historic charm and rich cultural heritage. Founded in the ninth century, the town features various architectural styles (Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance), reflecting its vibrant history. The town's centerpiece is the iconic Torre de les Hores, a 12th-century Romanesque tower that once formed part of the town's defensive structure. 

The culture of Pals is deeply rooted in its history, with the town's residents taking great pride in preserving their traditions and local customs. Throughout the year, Pals hosts several cultural events and festivals, such as the Fira de Pals, which celebrates local gastronomy and craftsmanship. During the summer, the town comes alive with the enchanting Pals Music Festival, where you can enjoy classical and contemporary performances amid the town's medieval backdrop.

What to See & Do

Pals' cobbled streets, historic buildings, and ancient towers have been impeccably preserved, offering a glimpse into Spain's rich past. Some of the top attractions in Pals include the Gothic-style Church of Sant Pere, the Plaça Major (main square) with its 14th-century town hall, and the Torre de les Hores. You can also stroll along the town's ramparts for views of the surrounding countryside or explore the artisan shops and galleries that line the cobbled streets. For some romantic time on the beach, the nearby Playa de Pals is an excellent choice with its wide expanse of golden sand and turquoise water, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or water sports.

Beaches to Visit

You'll find Pals in the inland region of the Costa Brava, but it's not far from the coast. One of the top spots for beach lovers is Platja de Pals, a long stretch of sand. For those looking for something a bit quieter, Sa Riera beach is in a cove and provides a peaceful atmosphere. And since Pals isn't far from Begur, you can also visit the beaches listed for Begur above, including Sa Tuna and Aiguablava.

How to Get There

Pals is close to Begur, just a quick eight-minute drive or a 20-minute bus ride. If coming from Girona, driving or hiring a private transfer is best, as public transportation options take too long. The journey from Girona to Pals is about 40 minutes by car. Pals offers street parking and a few large lots where you can sometimes pay by card/app (having a little cash on you is always a good idea in these smaller villages).

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Best Places to Visit for Groups of Friends & Younger Travelers

There are a lot of lively spots in the Costa Brava 

If you're a young traveler or vacationing with a group of friends, the Costa Brava also provides a couple of spots with a more lively scene. With its long stretches of sandy beaches, vibrant bars and clubs, and opportunities for water sports and outdoor activities, this region offers something for everyone. Two towns that are particularly popular with young travelers and groups are Platja d'Aro and L'Estartit. They could work as a base for a night or two, especially if you'd like to experience the nightlife, though you can also visit these towns on a day trip. 

Platja d'Aro

Platja d'Aro is a bustling coastal town with many restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. The town's long beaches are perfect for sunbathing and swimming, while the clear waters offer a range of sports, such as jet skiing, windsurfing, and parasailing. And when the sun goes down, Platja d'Aro comes alive with its nightlife, including bars and clubs offering everything from live music to DJ sets.

History & Culture

Though you might not have your eye set on Platja d'Aro for its history and culture, it's still a coastal town with a past. Its history dates back to the Roman era, but it was during the mid-20th century that it started to gain prominence as a tourist destination, thanks to its beautiful beaches, mild climate, and the development of modern infrastructure. Platja d'Aro has managed to carve out a unique identity as a bustling, contemporary resort town popular with worldwide travelers.

Throughout the year, several events and festivals celebrate the town's local traditions, such as the Carnival of Platja d'Aro, which brings color and energy to the streets. You can also take a break from the beach and visit numerous galleries and museums, including the Carmen Thyssen Space, which showcases temporary modern and contemporary art exhibitions. 

What to See & Do

Platja d'Aro's main attraction is undoubtedly its beaches, including the popular Platja Gran and Cala Rovira. You and your friends can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and various water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding. The town also has a lovely promenade lined with shops, bars, and restaurants, making it a great place to stroll and people watch. To further explore the town's history and culture, check out the Castell d'Aro, a medieval castle with panoramic views of the surrounding area, and the quirky Museu de la Nina, a toy museum featuring over 20,000 dolls and toys from different eras.

Beaches to Visit

You can walk right from the town to its main beach, Platja Gran, a large, sandy stretch with clear waters and plenty of facilities, such as beach bars, showers, and sun loungers. Another must-visit beach is Cala Rovira, a smaller cove with turquoise waters and a quieter atmosphere, better for those looking for a more secluded vibe. Though Platja Gran is the place to go for kayaking and paddleboarding, Sa Conca beach is the best option for other water sports; its waters and ideal wind conditions are perfect for windsurfing and kitesurfing. 

How to Get There

Platja d'Aro is just a 20-minute drive from Begur and 35 minutes from Girona. Driving is the fastest and most convenient way to get there, but you can also take an hour-long bus from Girona and a 45-minute bus from Begur. Once in Platja d'Aro, you'll find a lot of parking options throughout the town, including some less than a 10-minute walk from the main beach. 


L'Estartit is another popular destination for young travelers and groups, though it feels less like a city than Platja d'Aro and has a few more options for outdoor activities. The town is famous for its diving, with several dive centers offering courses and expeditions to explore the Illes Medes, seven rocky islands just off the coast. And after sunset, a lively nightlife scene emerges.

History & Culture

Like many of these coastal villages, L'Estartit was originally a small fishing village frequented by Greek and Roman civilizations, and the nearby ruins of Empúries serve as evidence. Thanks to its strategic location along the Mediterranean coast, it officially became an established town in the 14th century. The town's historic harbor, Torroella de Montgrí Castle, and the Montgrí Massif stand as reminders of its past, and the Medes Islands, just off the coast, is a protected marine reserve.

The culture of L'Estartit is a vibrant blend of traditional Catalan heritage and modern influences. Local cuisine, heavily influenced by the Mediterranean diet, features fresh seafood, locally-grown produce, and regional wines. L'Estartit also embraces its maritime heritage, with sailing, scuba diving, and marine conservation efforts among the key activities that engage locals and visitors.

What to See & Do

Known for its pristine sandy beaches and clear waters, L'Estartit is a haven for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts. The town's proximity to the Medes Islands makes it a prime destination for scuba diving and snorkeling, with diving schools in the town center. You and your friends can learn a new, exciting skill and explore the rich underwater of the islands. L'Estartit's picturesque marina and traditional fishing port are perfect for leisurely strolls or dining, and the bustling weekly market is ideal for discovering local crafts and produce. And if you're interested in history and culture, visit the nearby Montgrí Castle and the Torroella de Montgrí. 

Beaches to Visit

Among the top beaches to visit in or near L'Estartit is the main beach, Playa de L'Estartit, which stretches for miles and is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. You can also visit Playa de la Gola, a stunning natural beach located at the mouth of the Ter River, and Cala Pedrosa, a secluded cove surrounded by rocky cliffs and crystal-clear waters. For those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, Cala Montgó is one of the best beaches in Costa Brava and is just a short drive from L'Estartit, offering a peaceful escape with its calm waters and gentle sea breeze.

How to Get There

The town is a bit off-the-beaten-path, so driving your own car or hiring a private transfer is best. From Begur, the journey is only 20 minutes, so even grabbing a taxi is better than taking the bus, which requires a transfer. From Girona, the drive is 50 minutes, though the bus takes about the same amount of time. Just know it only leaves once an hour. 

Best Places to Visit for an Active Adventure

Begur is perfect for paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming, hiking, and more

If you're reading this article in full, you already know that the Costa Brava is perfect for an active vacation. With its rugged coastline, rolling hills, and calm, clear-water coves, this region is ideal for activities like hiking, cycling, kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing, snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, and windsurfing. Though you can find these outdoor adventures in many of the towns listed above, one destination, in particular, offers a wide range of activities: Sant Feliu de Guíxols.

Sant Feliu de Guíxols

Sant Feliu de Guíxols is a buzzy, vibrant, and energetic coastal town known for its water sports, including those that aren't as common elsewhere, such as sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. The town also has several cycling routes and hiking trails that wind through the surrounding hills and forests, and its long beach is perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

History & Culture

The town's most emblematic historical monument, the Monastery of Sant Feliu de Guíxols, was founded in the 10th century and played a pivotal role in the development of the region. Over the centuries, Sant Feliu de Guíxols evolved from a small fishing village into a thriving industrial town, with cork production becoming a significant source of wealth in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The culture of Sant Feliu de Guíxols is a harmonious blend of maritime traditions, industrial heritage, and artistic influences. The town's fishing port, bustling market, and narrow streets, lined with beautifully restored historical buildings, reflect the fusion of these cultural elements. It's also known for its lively arts scene, with museums and annual festivals offering music, theater, exhibitions, and dance performances.

What to See & Do

One of the most popular attractions in Sant Feliu de Guíxols is the 10th-century Benedictine Monastery, featuring a Romanesque art and architecture collection. You can also explore the town's historic quarter, with its narrow streets, charming plazas, and local markets. But, of course, the focus of Sant Feliu de Guíxols is its outdoor pursuits, including hiking and biking, water sports, and scenic boat tours. You can also rent equipment for kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling, and take advantage of the consistent yet light wind and try kitesurfing or windsurfing. 

Beaches to Visit

The town's main beach, Platja de Sant Feliu, is family-friendly, with golden sands and calm waters, perfect for swimming and paddleboarding. You'll also find a near-consistent breeze and a wide beach, so wind sports are also popular here. To the south, the secluded Platja de Sant Pol provides a shoreline ideal for snorkeling. The rocky cove of Cala Vigatà, with its transparent waters and hidden underwater treasures, draws kayakers and scuba diving enthusiasts. Other options include the picturesque Cala Ametller and the nearby Cala Jonca, both quiet coves best for relaxing, swimming, sunbathing, or snorkeling.

How to Get There

Sant Feliu de Guíxols is best reached by car. From Begur, plan for a 30-minute drive, and from Girona, the journey takes about 40 minutes. The town has plenty of parking, including lots near the coast, so getting to the beach is relatively easy. 

Best Places to Visit for Historical & Cultural Experiences

Consider a day trip to Castellfollit de la Roca from Girona or Figueres

Many of the towns on the list provide unique historical and cultural sites and experiences, proving that the Costa Brava is more than just beaches and water sports. With its rich cultural heritage and well-preserved historic towns, this region offers a wealth of opportunities to explore the past. Though you can also visit places like Begur, Cadaqués, Pals, and Tossa de Mar for history and culture, you shouldn't miss the region's two major cities, Girona and Figueres.


Girona is a historic city famous for its medieval architecture and Jewish Quarter, one of the best-preserved Jewish Quarters in Europe. The city's narrow streets are lined with historic buildings and offer a fascinating glimpse into the past. Highlights include the Roman walls, the Gothic cathedral, the Museum of Jewish History, and the Museum of Art.

History & Culture

Girona has been conquered by various civilizations throughout its history, including the Moors, Visigoths, and Franks, all of whom have left their mark on the city's architecture and culture. Girona's Jewish Quarter, known as El Call, is home to charming cobbled streets, incredible architecture, and several museums, including the Museum of Jewish History, which documents the Jewish community in Girona. The city hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year, including the Girona Flower Festival and the Temps de Flors, which transform the city into a vibrant display of color and art.

What to See & Do

The well-preserved medieval Old Town, with its winding cobblestone streets, is a must-see, featuring the iconic Girona Cathedral, known for its impressive Gothic facade and the widest Gothic nave in the world. In this area, you'll find the Arab Baths and the ancient city walls, where you can walk along the Passeig de la Muralla for panoramic city views. Don't miss strolling through the Jewish Quarter (some of the most charming streets include Carrer de la Força, Carrer de Sant Llorenç, and Carrer Manuel Cundaro). A "Game of Thrones" walk is a good choice for a deep dive into the city's history, even if you're not a fan of the series. 

The City History Museum is also quite fascinating, as are the Girona Art Museum and the Museum of Jewish Art and Culture. When ready for a snack, don't miss a few local staples, including fideuà, a type of paella made with noodles instead of rice, and xuixo, a sweet pastry filled with cream. 

Beaches to Visit

Keep in mind that Girona isn't on the coast, and the nearest beach is 35 minutes away by car. If you want to enjoy the beach from Girona, the closest options are Lloret de Mar and Sant Feliu de Guíxols. Plan for a one-hour drive if you'd like to visit Begur's beaches. Other options include Platja d'Aro, Tossa de Mar, and Platja de Pals, all detailed above.

How to Get There

Girona is a big city and hub, so getting there is easy. If starting from Begur, it's best to drive or hire a private transfer, which takes just under an hour. There's also a bus service, but it takes over two hours, and you'll need to switch buses. The journey between Barcelona and Girona is more flexible, as you can drive in about 1.5 hours, take a fast 40-minute train, or go by bus, which takes about one hour and 40 minutes.


Figueres is the Costa Brava's other large city known for its connection to Salvador Dalí, the famous Spanish artist. The town has a museum dedicated to Dalí's work and several other cultural attractions, such as a medieval castle and a local history museum. It's also an ideal hub for cultural and historical day trips.

History & Culture

Initially founded as a small rural settlement, Figueres flourished over time under various ruling powers, including the Romans, Visigoths, and Moors. The town's strategic location near the French border made it a significant military and commercial hub, which is reflected in its historic architecture, such as the Castell de Sant Ferran, a colossal 18th-century fortress. Figueres also played a pivotal role in the Spanish Civil War, serving as a refuge for many fleeing the Franco regime.

The vibrant culture of Figueres is heavily influenced by its most famous resident, the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. The town is home to the Dalí Theatre-Museum, which showcases a vast collection of his works and serves as a tribute to his genius. This creative energy permeates the town's culture, attracting artists and art enthusiasts from around the world. The annual Festa Major, a week-long celebration of the town's patron saint, epitomizes Figueres' cultural spirit, featuring events from concerts to traditional dances and processions.

What to See & Do

Besides visiting the castle and Dalí Theatre-Museum, there really isn't much to do in Figueres. Instead, looking at the city as a jumping-off point for day trips is best. To continue an exploration of Dalí, consider pairing Figueres with Cadaqués, the charming seaside town where the artist lived and where you'll find another museum dedicated to his work and life. Cadaqués is about 45 minutes by car or a one-hour bus ride from Figueres.

Another historical and cultural idea is to take a day trip to Besalù, Castellfollit de la Roca, and Lake Banyoles. The highlights of Besalú, a quick 20-minute drive from Figueres, are its incredibly charming town center, the Romanesque bridge crossing the Fluvià River, and the views. Castellfollit de la Roca, another 15 minutes from Besalù, is home to a beautiful Romanesque church, narrow streets, and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. It's perched on a cliff overlooking the Fluvià River and is a great place to explore the region's unique geology. 

On the way back to Figueres, you can stop at Lake Banyoles, the largest natural lake in Catalonia and a popular destination for hiking, cycling, or boating. There are also several beaches along the lake where you can relax and enjoy the sunshine, and the town of Banyoles has several historic buildings, including the Gothic-style Monastery of Sant Esteve and the Romanesque-style Church of Santa Maria del Turó.

Beaches to Visit

Like Girona, Figueres is an inland city, so it doesn't have any beaches. Still, you can drive to the coast in less than 30 minutes. One of the most popular beaches near Figueres is Roses, a long stretch of sand perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. Another great option that's already on this list is L'Estartit. You could also go north to Llançà, another excellent beach for swimming and sunbathing, though it's a bit more protected with rocky coves, so it's also great for snorkeling. 

How to Get There

Driving to Figueres is pretty straightforward, as you'll mostly follow the Costa Brava's highways. From Girona, you have three decent options that take the same amount of time. In 40 minutes, you can drive yourself, take a private transfer, or ride the direct train. There aren't any trains from Begur, and the bus requires a transfer, so it's best to make the one-hour journey by car. If starting in Barcelona, the train is the fastest option at one hour, but you can also drive yourself, though it'll take closer to two hours. 

Costa Brava Logistics

The beauty of Begur's villages

Once you've determined your base and decided on which towns to visit, beaches to enjoy, and the best experiences in the Costa Brava, you can start to consider some of the basic logistics. Here are a few FAQs:

Do I need a car to visit the Costa Brava?

Having a car can be very useful for exploring the Costa Brava, especially if you want to visit multiple towns or beaches. However, it's not strictly necessary if you plan to stay in just one village or area, as several towns and cities are well-connected by public transportation. And if you don't intend to travel long distances, you can always rely on private transfers. Still, renting a car is best to get the most out of your stay in the Costa Brava. 

How many days should I spend in the Costa Brava?

The ideal time to spend in the Costa Brava depends on your interests and travel style. For a comprehensive exploration of the region, at least one week is best, though you can still see and do a lot in just five days. At the very least, give yourself three days to explore the Costa Brava, which you can then pair with other destinations like Barcelona or the Balearic Islands. Read up on how many days to spend in the Costa Brava

Should I choose one base or bounce around?

Choosing one base for your the Costa Brava trip is a good idea, especially if you want to avoid packing and unpacking your bags daily. Again, kimkim recommends Begur as a base since it has some of the best hotels in the Costa Brava, is in such an ideal location, and offers a little bit of everything. If you have five days or one week in the Costa Brava, you could split your time between cities like Girona and Begur and coastal villages like Tossa de Mar, Cadaqués, Calella de Palafrugell, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, etc. It all comes down to what kind of trip you're looking for and what you want to experience. 

What is the best time of year to visit Costa Brava?

The Costa Brava is a seasonal destination, so it's best to visit from May to September when the weather is warm and sunny, perfect for beach activities and exploring the beautiful coastline. You can still enjoy the region in the off-season, though many hotels, restaurants, and activities will be closed or restricted during that time. 

Costa Brava Itinerary Ideas

Peaceful coves in the Costa Brava, perfect for relaxing and water sports

Kimkim can help you finish planning your trip to the Costa Brava, but to start you off with some inspiration and ideas, here are a few itineraries that past kimkim travelers have enjoyed:

Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 7 Days
Self-Drive Costa Brava & Pyrenees Mountains - 10 Days
Barcelona, the Costa Brava & the Costa del Sol - 14 days